Friday, February 24, 2012

How do you spell "relief"? 23,90m.

When I was an exchange student in High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, my Swedish exchange student friend had a green T-shirt which read “How do you spell "relief"? G=R=A=D=U=A=T=I=O=N!” It took me a while to understand that shirt, because I had been enjoying the year, but after somebody had taken the pains to explain it to me that first part of the sentence has stayed with me. Every once in a while there is an opportunity where it can aptly describe my feelings, whereas the second half may vary.
One such opportunity for calling up that first part of the sentence occurred earlier this week. After my husband and I had sat down to update our plans for 2012 in early January, I had felt rather panicky at first. I realized how much, and how many different things, I had on my agenda especially during the first part of the year. And I also saw that I needed to have quite a lot of yardage covered for the show at Ste. Marie-aux-Mines. I thought I would never be able to come up with 29 running meters of quilts.
For a few days I slept badly, was running around like a headless chicken with that distinctive feeling of panic, and, I admit, even considered calling it all off. Turning to making traditional quilts as blankets, giving them away, and quit trying to be an art quilt maker.
But after a couple of days I had a serious talk with myself. I told myself that this was a chance I wasn’t going to get again. That I had had other exhibits where I had hung more yardage than 29 m. That there was still a total of eight months left, which gave me ample opportunities to make more quilts, even if therre were a lot of other things that would keep interrupting me. “Stop worrying, and sit down to work!” was the thing I finally told myself.
The first thing I then did in preparation for Ste. Marie was that I once more read the rules carefully, which quilts I would be allowed to hang or not. Not allowed are quilts that had already been seen in Ste. Marie earlier – fair enough! That excludes at least five quilts of mine, two of which are still traveling with Color Improvisations and won’t be back until the fall anyway. 

Still traveling with "Color Improvisations",
and has already been shown in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines:
excluded from my show in the fall, Play of Lines VIII.
Not allowed are quilts that have been shown at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham or other major European festivals, that excludes four other quilts, again two of which are still traveling with Beyond Comfort and are not likely to be back before the fall.
When I sent in my signed contract to the Carrefour I asked whether quilts that had been shown at the Italian Abilmente in Verona (where I had a solo show a couple of years ago) counted as “shown at a major European venue”, and received the answer that if I showed one or two of them at Ste. Marie that would be ok, just as long as I did not rely entirely on those. And I also received note that I would be allowed to hang the quilt that was part of the competition last year, even though, of course, it had been shown in Ste. Marie last year.

Detail of "Personality",
my entry to last year's competition in Ste. Marie
Then I sat down and started a file in which I listed the quilts that I would be allowed to hang, including their actual measurements, and the 50cm space allowance between them added. At first calculation I arrived at about half of the yardage I need to cover. Which helped to allay the panicky feeling at least a bit. Work grew slightly more concentrated after that.

Detail of Play of Lines XXIV: Tangle (2011),
will be shown in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines

Earlier this week I updated that file with the measurements of the quilts I’ve been working on recently.

Detail of a new Play of Lines,
I think it will be No. XXVI or so,
and will be shown in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines
I also included one which is currently hanging in my husband’s office, about which I only recently realized that it had been the beginning of a new series a couple of years ago. I just did not know that then. Now the follow-ups are popping up in my mind.  

Detail of No. 3 in the new series Shapes, work in progress,
will be shown in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines
And after a new calculation I arrived at 23,90m. Whew.
That’s only 5 more meters to go – with six months ahead, and many ideas left in my sketchbooks. Now that count includes the 2,30m of the quilt I just entered for the Quilt Triennale – not knowing whether it will be accepted, I am still counting it on the list as a possible participant. So the count may actually go down to slightly under 22m. But still – even 7m sounds feasible. And who knows, some of the quilts currently on the list can easily be exchanged for newer ones that are waiting in line to be made and finished.


  1. Thanks for sharing your panic so honestly. I'm looking forward to your exhibition in Ste. Marie - and I know I will appreciate it even more now. Because you gave your readers a bit of an insight - how much work it is to get such an exhibition done, and all the emotions that go into it!

  2. Thanks, Hexle - indeed, I am looking forward to the exhibit, too. Not only because then the stress will be over, but also for the feeling of accomplishment that (hopefully!) goes with it...